Archived Posts July 2013 - Page 2 of 14 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Welcome_to_ClevelandAnthony Dent has a clever plan to improve economic mobility: move strategically unimportant federal departments and agencies to economically impoverished cities and towns across America.

Republicans would support it because, well, they hate DC and favor “real” America. Democrats would support it because their cities and states would benefit disproportionately (think Atlanta, Michigan, or Illinois).

Call it the Cleveland Plan after the city that exemplifies America’s decline. Not only does Cleveland routinely rank as one of America’s fastest-dying cities, but Clevelanders also had the indignity of watching the man who spurned them turn around and win the 2012 (and 2013) NBA Finals (not to mention they still claim Dennis Kucinich as a favorite son). Plop the Department of Energy HQ in Public Square and you suddenly have thousands of jobs that aren’t going anywhere.

Why is the Department of Agriculture on the National Mall when it could be in Kansas, which devotes 90.1 percent of its land to agriculture (compared to DC’s 0)? Shouldn’t government be close to the people it serves? In the same vein, perhaps one of the many blighted urban areas across the country could welcome the Department of Housing and Urban Development (hello, Detroit!). The Department of Education could even set up a roving headquarters in one of the nation’s worst performing school systems (scratch that—it’s already been done—ahem, DC).

Read more . . .

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Erasing the Christian past
The Economist

A fine Byzantine church in Turkey has been converted into a mosque.

Why Should Christians Care About Economic Growth?
Values & Capitalism

Christian college professors Edd Noell and Stephen L. S. Smith, co-authors of our Values & Capitalism monograph “Economic Growth: Unleashing the Potential of Human Flourishing,” recently answered a key question about why Christians should care about economic growth.

How Business Glorifies God
Wayne Grudem, Christianity 9 to 5

What many do not understand, I think, is that there is a fifth way to glorify God, one that we often overlook, but one that has profound implications for any believer in business.

Beyond churches, Sudan regime targeting foreign aid workers
Eden Nelson, Baptist Press

Security forces in Sudan reportedly are focusing on the removal of foreigners who work for hundreds of foreign aid organizations within its borders.

Blog author: ehilton
posted by on Monday, July 29, 2013

Detroit is bankrupt. The city government can’t pay its bills. Scores of empty houses and garbage-strewn lots greet anyone who drives down once-bustling streets. There is a lot of finger-pointing, and no easy answers. There are a lot of pieces to MAYOR YOUNGthe puzzle of what went wrong in Detroit.

At The Wall Street Journal, Steve Malanga has a few puzzle pieces to add, and they form the face of former-Mayor Coleman Young. Young was Detroit’s mayor for 20 years (1974-1994), and Malanga calls him a “radical trade unionist who ran as an antiestablishment candidate reaching out to disenfranchised black voters, Young lacked a plan except to go to war with the city’s major institutions and demand that the federal government save it with subsidies.” During Young’s 20 year mayorship, the city’s government became less and less effective, and the middle class (both black and white) got out. (more…)

Blog author: abradley
posted by on Monday, July 29, 2013

This case has been made that government attempts to manage economies through regulation, laws, and taxes discourage entrepreneurs entering into the marketplace. I recently asked Michael, a young entrepreneur in his 20s, what were some of his fears about being a entrepreneur in America. We’re not using his full name to protect his identity but this is what he had to say:

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Blog author: ehilton
posted by on Monday, July 29, 2013

As David Deavel points out, free market economists and distributists “are often at each others’ throats.” Deavel is attempting to scrutinize distributism – what it is and what it isn’t – in a series at Intercollegiate Review. He claims that while piece of cakedistributism has its flaws, it has some valid points and there is much good to be found in the arguments of distributists.

So what it distributism?

Distributists like to describe themselves as an alternative or third way that avoids what they describe as the pitfalls of both capitalism and socialism.  They also claim that their system (alone, they sometimes say), is faithful to papal social teaching and the Catholic social tradition more broadly.  Their goal, they claim, is a society of widely distributed property and widely distributed wealth and power.  This differs, they say, from both socialism, in which the state owns the means of production, the vast bulk of wealth, and all power, and from capitalism, which is, they say, a system in which a very few private people own the means of production, wealth, and have the lion’s share of power.

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DSC_0167For a few years now, I have been puzzled by why Rachel Held Evans remains popular among many younger evangelicals and why the secular media finds her credible. I was struck by Evans’ recent CNN article “Why Millennials Are Leaving The Church.” When reading the post it becomes evident that Evans is not talking about the “holy catholic church,” but a narrow subculture of conservative American evangelicals. The post does not address why young adults in America are leaving the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, broad evangelical, nor mainline churches. Moreover, after reading this opinion piece it became clear to me that what Evans is saying Millennials want from “the church” is fully found in the United Methodist Church (UMC).

Evans rightly argues that conservative evangelical churches will not be able to bait-and-switch young adults with “cool” gimmicks in order to keep them in the doors. Historically speaking, American Christians have always panicked about teens and young adults leaving the church. For example, anxiety over fledgling youth attendances in churches served as the catalyst for the creation of the YMCA and the Boy Scouts. In the 1960s, making church cool led to the introduction of jazz into youth group culture in many Catholic and Protestant churches. After making this good point Evans claims that Millennials are leaving the (evangelical) church because Jesus cannot be “found” in it. This is the point where the post takes an odd ecclesiastical turn.

Evans says that what Millennials really want from “the church” is:

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Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Monday, July 29, 2013

Streaming the Ancient Faith
Wesley J. Smith, First Things

When I tell people I am a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, I often get a puzzled reaction. “Eastern Orthodoxy?” some will say. “What’s that?”

Lessons from Federalist 7: All We’re Saying is Give Peace a Chance
David Corbin and Matthew Parks, The Blaze

Forget the war to end all wars: we live in an age where man’s permanent condition, in every part of life, is a state of war.

Religious Freedom Is About More Than Religion
Robert P. George and Katrino Lantos Swett

U.S. foreign policy should promote liberty of belief—and unbelief.

Five Ways Pastors Can Affirm Faith, Work, and Vocation
Art Lindsley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Today’s evangelical Church has largely failed to address the subjects of faith, work, and calling. There is a tendency to focus on issues pertaining to salvation, evangelism, or basic personal discipleship (Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, etc.) but to ignore what most people do forty, sixty, or eighty hours a week.

Blog author: ehilton
posted by on Friday, July 26, 2013

For some Christians, art of one sort or another plays an integral part of their faith life and worship. For others, it may seem like an afterthought. Should churches encourage artists? Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College, thinks they

"Grace Psalm", Makoto Fujimura

“Grace Psalm”, Makoto Fujimura

should. In an interview with Breakpoint, Ryken says churches are missing out on opportunities by not reaching out to artists.

This is more than a tragedy. It’s a lost opportunity. Ryken notes that ‘Christians called to paint, draw, sculpt, sing, act, dance, and play music have extraordinary opportunities to witness to the grace, beauty, and truth of the gospel… The arts are the leading edge of culture,’ he says.

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Blog author: Jane Ziolowski
posted by on Friday, July 26, 2013

The painting Rembrandts Prodigal Son Revisited, by Jonathan Quist is part of The Larry & Mary Gerbens Collection of Art inspired by the parable of the Prodigal Son. The Jonathan Quist painting Rembrandts Prodigal Son Revisited, is featured in the book The Father & His Two Sons - The Art of Forgiveness“While he was still a long way off…”

On display at Acton Institute in Grand Rapids is an art exhibit centered on the parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15. “The Father and His Two Sons: The Art of Forgiveness,” was collected by Larry and Mary Gerbens. It includes a 1636 etching by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, a painting by American artist Robert Barnum, and a reproduction of Rembrandt’s famous “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” among others. Though the works span six countries of origin and five centuries, each portrays a scene from the well-known parable.

Winds rip trees from their roots. Branches are bent backward against the sky. Chaos rules as the wayward son runs toward his father’s farm in Robert Barnum’s Americanized representation. In the distance, an outhouse flies into the air. The son battles gale-force winds to get back to his father. The viewer can almost feel him being tossed about like a leaf.

Rembrandt takes us 30 seconds later in the story. In his 1636 etching, the son kneels at his father’s feet, but his father reaches to raise him up. The stone steps they stand on are firmly attached to the ground. The foundations of the house are secure. We can see great compassion in the father’s embrace.

Of course, the older brother, who has never rebelled, feels jealous and marginalized. In the Rembrandt, he leans out of the window and looks directly at the viewer as if to appeal to an unbiased fourth party.

And, after the homecoming, his self-righteousness is still palpable. An etching by James Tissot (“No IV- The Fatted Calf”, 1881) shows him complaining that his father has never honored him in the way that he now honors his younger brother. Larry Gerbens pointed out that the older son is just as distant from the family as the younger is; another Tissot etching shows him daydreaming while his brother viciously takes leave of his father. (more…)

In this Prager University video, Philip Howard explains how unions are sucking money from city and state budgets across America. This type of financial drain led, in part, to the demise of Detroit. As Howard points out in the video, “Government is supposed to serve the public good, not government employees.”